Day 55. Nedalshytta to Sylarnafjallstation

Posted by: James on February 24, 2009

Distance 18km | Time 6.5hrs | Ascent 670m | Descent 400m

Day 55. The obscured view to Sylan from EkorrdorrenThe 3 Dutch and myself all got up at the same time around 0700. I had porridge for breakfast. After packing and cleaning up we all left at the same time of 0830. Me for Sylarnafjallstation and them for Storerikvollen cabin. We would probably meet tomorrow night in Blahammarensfjellstation which would be nice as they were a good crack.

My journey took me through the deep snow of the upper forest initially and then onto the bare mountainside soon after. The visibility was poor and more than once I thought about turning back and going to Storerikvollen cabin with the Dutch.

The reason I was coming this longer and much higher way for 3 days was for the view and proximity to Sylan. But if there was no view due to the weather it was a waste of extra effort, but not time as the easy way would probably take 3 days also.

The route was well marked with stakes across the plateau as I headed in the snow towards the unseen massif of Sylan. The snow was soft and the going was quite slow as I sunk in over my ankles with each step. It took a good 2 hours of trudging across this to reach the Swedish border. It was a very abstract border on this white plateau.

I continued to climb very slowly with the wind and snow behind me and mist cloaking the mountains. Occasionally it cleared enough so I could get an obscured glimpse of the crags and snow fields on each side of the steepening valley. The wind was getting up a bit now and must have been a good force 4 when I entered Ekorrdorren, the deep valley to the south of the Sylan massif.

There was a small shelter here, not really for overnighting unless one was caught in bad weather. I had lunch in the shelter and then prepared to climb the mountainside to the north. On the map it looked very steep but in reality it was not that bad. The wind would be directly into my face though so I battened down the balaclava and jacket hood.

On the climb up the wind got stronger and stronger as I neared the pass. It must have been a force seven at the top. Due to the snowfalls of the last week there were huge amounts of spindrift swirling around. At times it was a maelstrom of white and I could barely see my skis. I slowly climbed up through this almost thankful for the markers. The markers here were not the subtle and unobtrusive markers of Norway, but permanent, intrusive, red crosses which were over the top and unsightly and unnecessary. It was the cradle to grave, multiple airbag approach.

The snow surface since the shelter was however good and firm. I was no longer sinking into it and could make better time. Soon I reached the pass and snatched the odd view of some foothills and the base of the peaks, but nothing spectacular.

The descent down the north side of the pass was gentle and pleasant. As I descended the wind diminished back to a force 4 and the spindrift did not chill my cheeks and freeze on my eyelashes any more. After an easy 4 km of this the dark shapes of Sylarnafjallstation formed out of the greyness. It was a massive complex of buildings.

Inside it was much more spacious, comfortable and organized than I thought. I got a dorm room to myself initially until 3 Swedes joined later. I had a nice shower, dried cloths in the drying room and even had a sauna. In the evening a pizza and an early night. Hopefully I would get some view tomorrow as I headed north past the remainder of the massif.

It had not been a great day. The weather had seen to that. Still it was nice to experience the weather also and feel some of its raw power. It could have been a lot worse as it was for the poor Karoliner army 300 years ago.

One Response to “Day 55. Nedalshytta to Sylarnafjallstation”

  1. Camilla Wikström Says:

    James, as you have told us, you are not the first to meet a blizzard here in Ekorrpasset. The area around Sylarna is extremely windy, because there is a “hole” in the mountainridge Skanderna, which allows the storms from the Atlantic to get in. Not only the Karolines have suffered here. The landscape is very open, and you cannot find any lee places for shelter. During the building of the “new” fjällstation 1931-32 there was a storm that blew this huge building over. Many tourists have died in blizzards in this area also in modern times. In the seventies 11 young people died in this area, and in 1994, 3 young norwegians froze to death in Tempeldalen only 4 kilometers from Sylarnas Fjällstation. There is always a lot of snow. in 1997 when I visited Sylarna in april, the building was all covered with snow, the main entrance was totally blocked and you had to use backdoors.
    I wish you good luck on your way back to Norway and look forward to read more! I have read about some other
    expeditions from south to north of Sweden that have been interrupted due to the deep snow this year. Also here I think it is a big advantage not to have a pulka.

    Camilla